All photos courtesy of my Dad 🙂
This is an annual fundraiser held by the Visiting Nurse’s Association of Chittenden and Grande Isle Counties. It’s their second-largest fundraiser, and I have to say, they’ve really got their stuff together.
Before the Race:
When I woke up at 7am, it was POURING rain. I was less than thrilled. I ate a banana and some PB toast, and drank a few glasses of Nuun. We arrived at the Allen Brook School at about 8:15 am. Even though there was a lacrosse tournament happening, there was plenty of parking. Registration/pick-up/donation drop off was inside the school gymnasium, and everything was very clearly marked. As a bonus, there were real restrooms instead of porta-potties! Since I raised $1000, I was part of the exclusive “Jiggety Jog Club” and got a special blue t-shirt (everyone else got orange).
Me, Dad and Mom
It was really a lovely atmosphere–my mom introduced me to several of the race organizers, and I felt a little bit like a celebrity–everyone knew my mom from when she had done the race in the past, and they were all so excited to meet me and so happy I was there. Top Hat Entertainment was there providing music and keeping everyone up-to-date on information, and Champ, the mascot for the Vermont Lake Monsters, was there giving high fives and taking pictures. Just before the race started, we had a moment of silence for those who have had family members pass away at the Respite House. And as we were lining up to start, the skies cleared and the sun came out–it was amazing!
During the Race:
There was a timed 5k as well as a “fun run,” so they started the runners first. There were only 96 runners, so I started out in the middle of the pack (there were no corrals or pacers). The course wound out behind the school through some lovely fields, and then went through some local neighborhoods. The course was mostly flat or downhill for the first mile, which was great! There were volunteers at every intersection making sure we knew which way to go, and there was water at every other intersection, which was great because it ended up being very warm. This was my first time running in summer-ish weather, and it was tough.
And they’re off!
There was one big uphill at the beginning of mile 2, but thankfully, after my hill run on Tuesday, I was able to push through and it didn’t slow me down too much. All of the volunteers were incredibly positive and cheered us on. In the neighborhoods, there were a few groups of kids banging pots and pans, singing, cheering, and playing musical instruments. I spent a lot of time thinking about Gramma Pat–her smile, her laugh, how she started every letter to me with “Darlin’ Rae” (hence the blog name)… It made me smile and it made me a little sad that there’s so much about her I’ll never know. Take it from me, friends–get to know your grandparents. Ask them questions. They are fascinating people, and you don’t get to have them for long.
Eventually the course looped back on itself and through the field back to the school. I was starting to really need to pee, so I kicked it up a notch at the 3 mile marker and brought it home. It was amazing to have Ben, my mom, my dad, and our family dog, Harley, cheering me across the finish line. As I crossed the line, one of the volunteers said, “You know that dog didn’t bark for anybody else,” and I said, “Well of course, she’s my dog!” 😀
Crossing the finish line
After the Race and Results:
My official time was
30:26 30:21 (updated 5/14), and I was 48 out of 96 runners–a strong middle-of-the-pack finish. According to my GPS, the course was actually 3.3 miles, so I’ll take it. I was also 4th in my age group of 20-29, so that’s pretty cool!<–updated 5/14
Mile 1: 9:00
Mile 2: 9:29
Mile 3: 9:24
Mile 4 (0.3): 8:24
The post-race food was sponsored by Hannaford supermarket, and it was great–bagels with cream cheese, bananas, apples, oranges, granola bars, donut holes, mini cabot cheese squares, coffee and orange juice. I grabbed a few munchies and some water and went back outside to enjoy the day and cheer everyone on–one woman hula-hooped the entire 3.1 miles–can you imagine?!
Me with Sharon Keegan, one of the race organizers
The awards ceremony was awesome. There were medals for the 1st and 2nd place overall finishers, with 1st and 2nd in each age category. The medals got a little mixed up, but nobody seemed to mind too much. They also recognized the top fundraisers in the individual and team categories with special plaques, and all of the Jiggety Jog Club members (only 10 of us) were recognized with certificates. The best part was, the event surpassed their overall fundraising goal, and everyone gave a big cheer!
Overall, this race experience was one of the best I’ve ever had. The event organizers were so positive and so happy to have people participating–I was thanked over and over again for my participation and fundraising efforts. The course was pretty and well-marked, the volunteers were awesome, and the food and music were a really nice touch. I plan to make this an annual race.